Sint Maarten – the Dutch side

Columbus saw this island on the 11th November 1493, Saint Martin’s day, the rest is history, though, there was much history before that history. He claimed it as Spanish without even landing there. The French and the Dutch however did land there and take a liking to it. Why not, it is rather special and has much to make you feel at home. Philipsburg is the capital on the Dutch side. The Dutch used it as a halfway stage between New Amsterdam (now New York) and Brazil. It is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands until the bus gets a few miles down the road, then on the northern side, 60% of the island is part of the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin, see our film of how to get there.

The capital is Philipsburg, and it is where the port is and where your ship is likely to dock. It is a fifteen-minute walk to the beach or a water taxi. To a wonderful beach, a vibrant promenade and an inviting warren of narrow streets called steegjies with leafy courtyard cafés. Wathey Square, which is home to a colourful market.


There is a Hard Rock Cafe, I have not been in one since Panama before going through the canal many years ago, but it had a real charm as do all the buildings that have style. Our film on the French side takes you there by bus and up to the remains of the fort. We have many films on the Caribbean. Do you have one you want to share?

Taxi Ferry from the ship

Should you not want to walk from the ship there is a ferry boat that will run you up to the harbour. There are boat and catamaran trips you can take around the bay to watch, sightsee or snorkle. It has a wonderful beach, so relax, and enjoy this fantastic island. St Marteen is often put in between St Lucia and Tortola. It is the place for the tragic end of the fifth CSCI book.